Contemptuous, enjoying a flush of blood at this fight for domination, a prickle of excitement rushed to Tiradates’ crutch. Sneering at this dickhead, sure of winning. The talk of a woman had the arsehole looking confused.
To emphasise his uselessness, Tiradates dished out un unexpected backhander. Hard, stinging across the prisoner’s face .. it rocked his head sideways. Soldiers grabbed the prisoner harder when the infuriated slave tried to hit back.
“For disobedience …. a slave gets punished ….”
Tiradates goaded his stupid prisoner further. Reached out, grabbed the prick by the scalp. His hand tight in the arsehole’s hair, he twisted his angry face into his own.
Tiradates fought to twist the prick’s face back into his own.
“How would you treat a slave that bad ….?”
Maciste spat out his pent-up frustration.
“I am no slave. I am a prince. The lawful king. I demand to be treated as such.”
He snarled. Maciste was swishing with his head to wrench away Tiradates’s grip in his hair. Determined to break the humiliating hold. But the guards yanked him back. Fought against his struggling. Not to let their general down.
He knew he had no choice but Maciste spat out his anger. His head twisted away. But the general would not let him go.
Tiradates smirked into that burst of anger. He screwed his wrist. He tightened his fingers in the prisoner’s hair and pulled. Annoyed he didn’t twist a grimace out of the prick’s face, just more futile anger. Maciste’s guards fought to keep Maciste from their general’s throat. A fist hammered into his neck.
“I am no fucking slave.”
Maciste roared out.
Sneering Tiradates laughed into his prisoner’s angry retort.
“Not a slave? No? Says who …?”
Tiradates backhanded another stinging hand across Maciste’s cheeks. Satisfied with a flash of frustrated anger.
“You are what I fucking-say you are!
“Try this for size …..”
Tiradates kicked that hated collar forward. Kicked to right under Maciste’s nose. His body was twisted over, forced to look down at the humiliation in the dirt .. that hateful collar. It was only a leather ring, Maciste made himself think. Only a leather ring with iron studs. No more than a necklace.
But it was more. That ring represented everything hateful. It symbolised what these invaders had done to Menander’s people. And it symbolised Maciste’s personal defeat. Bundled away in slave chains. Slave of this vile Empire. Out-manoeuvred, tricked. Beaten. Nothing could be more hateful. Captured, delivered into punishing slavery, that hateful collar clasped around his neck. In service to their murderous emperor.
And all his own stupid fault.